Michael Cavacini

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Archive for the tag “Horror”

Revisiting Alan Wake

Alan WakeAlan Wake took more than five years to develop but the end result is one of the greatest video games of all time. The game’s story follows bestselling thriller novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance during their vacation in the fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington. While searching for his wife, Alice, he experiences events from the plot in his latest novel, which he can’t remember writing.

This compelling narrative is told through a series of eight episodes, two of which – “The Signal” and “The Writer” – are additional downloadable content. All eight episodes kept my rapt attention from start to finish, and when facing the game’s frightening enemies, known as “The Taken,” I was stricken with chills.

Alan Wake’s character development is exceptional. As the game progressed I found myself more attached to the main characters and emotionally invested in their well being. Another “character” worth noting is the town of Bright Falls. This fictional locale came to life in a way no setting has before in a video game since the original Silent Hill. The transformation of the town from light to dark was impressive, and its foreboding presence was amplified by the fact that I was in control of Alan Wake.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Alan Wake’s score by Petri Alanko is simply gorgeous. It’s one of the most beautifully haunting pieces of orchestral music I’ve ever heard. It perfectly embodies the game’s mystical nature and Alan Wake’s dreamlike state. Even if you don’t play the game, you should give the score a listen.

While books, movies and television shows are wonderful mediums for telling stories, video games can be superior. Not only do they combine the best elements of the aforementioned art forms, but they put the person inside the story and make him or her play a key role in how it unfolds and, sometimes, how it ends. Having that level of agency within a game as spectacular as Alan Wake can only yield one result: complete satisfaction.

Below are three videos. The first is the game’s trailer, and the last two are about the making of Alan Wake.




Book Excerpt: Dead End


When it comes to pieces I’ve written, so far, I’ve only posted poetry to my blog. Below is the prologue to an upcoming thriller/horror book I’m writing; I call it Dead End. Enjoy!

Dead End

Tom stepped into the night, not knowing what to expect…yet a feeling of foreboding hung in the nighttime mist.

The streets were desolate and it started to drizzle. Tom’s face was flecked with small beads of water, and it felt good on his warm skin.

Seemingly out of nowhere he heard footsteps from behind, so Tom peered over his shoulder. The ominous man wore a trench coat, which hung loosely from his tall, thin frame. In his right hand his fingers were clasped around a walking stick. It was hard to see, but it appeared to have a metallic wolf’s head on top of it.

Tom didn’t know the man, but, for some reason, he instantly feared him and quickened his pace. As he did so, he heard the man’s footsteps increase in rapidity. As Tom passed shuttered businesses and abandoned houses, all he could hear was the rhythmic pounding of the man’s footsteps and walking stick.

Then, he heard nothing. Tom turned around and no one was there. He breathed a sigh of relief and stepped under a tattered awning to call for a cab from his cell phone.

A thunderclap let out and the skies opened up. In a matter of minutes Tom was drenched from head to toe in a deluge of water. His grip on the phone slipped and it hit the sidewalk with a wet, hard smack. To his dismay, it was cracked and beyond repair.

After covering so much ground, he was determined to walk home and save the money that would have been spent on the cab. Lord knows he’d now need it to replace his phone.

As he crossed the intersection and approached a side street, cold, wet hands gripped his neck and threw him to the pavement. Tom shook his head, looked up and found himself face to face with the dark figure from earlier. But this time he was in an alley with a dead end.

Tom could barely see the man through the sheets of rain. What he did see was the man’s walking stick cutting through the darkness, and what he heard – and felt – was it connecting with his skull. Tom tried to fight back, but the man kicked him in the gut and viciously brought the stick down hard on Tom’s head one last time, breaking the cane in two. Cloaked in darkness and covered in blood, he died in that alley. And all he could see before breathing his last breath was the blood-soaked wolf’s head of the walking stick, gleaming in the moonlight.

Monster-Mania: A Horror Fan’s Dream

Me being attacked by Freddy & Jason.

For nearly 10 years, Dave Hagan has been hosting a semi-annual horror film and memorabilia convention in Cherry Hill, NJ and Hunt Valley, MD. It’s called Monster-Mania, and yesterday was my first time attending. I met Doug Bradley, Nancy Allen, Claire Higgins, and Craig Sheffer, among others. I even ran into Freddy and Jason. In addition to meeting horror icons and getting autographs, I got to enjoy horror films I’d never seen before: Dressed to Kill, Night of the Living Dead and Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut. Needless to say, I had a blast and plan on attending future shows. Below are additional photos from my fabulous time at this stellar convention.

Me and the lovely Nancy Allen, whose starred in such films as Robocop, Dressed to Kill, Carrie, and Blow Out.

Meeting my favorite star from Hellraiser, Claire Higgins (Julia). She’s a tremendous actress and has a delightful personality too.

Meeting the incomparable Doug Bradley, best known for his role as Pinhead in the Hellraiser franchise.

Hanging out with Craig Sheffer following a screening of Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut.

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